Speakers

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Sonny Hsiao
CEO, President and Co-Founder
Acepodia Inc.

Dr. Hsiao is the Chief Executive Officer, President and Co-Founder at Acepodia, Inc. He was awarded Dr. Y-T Lee Prize, which named after Nobel Laureate Dr. Lee, for his research achievement in Chemistry. Dr. Hsiao has extensive research experiences in immune cell therapies, which lead to the discovery of ACC™ (Antibody-Cell Conjugation) technology, and to the invention of the novel cellular immunotherapy, ACE™ (Antibody-Cell Conjugation Effectors). Dr. Hsiao is an inventor of several patents and patent applications covering ACC and Natural Killer & T cell therapies. Dr. Hsiao earned his BS in Chemistry from National Taiwan University, and his PhD in Chemistry and Molecular Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

4:30 pm | Panel Discussion: The Future Potential of NK Cells in Combination Therapies

4:00 pm | Antibody-Cell Conjugation to NK Cells Without Genetic Engineering

Martin Treder
CSO
Affimed

Dr. Martin Treder joined Affimed’s Management Team in 2015 as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Treder has more than 16 years of professional experience in the field of biotherapeutics research and development and a broad experience in immuno-oncology discovery and pre-clinical development of antibodies. Before joining Affimed, he co-founded CT Atlantic AG, a Swiss biotechnology company focused on the identification and development of human-derived monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer. As Chief Scientific Officer he was responsible for establishing a broad research pipeline of various preclinical and clinical development programs. Prior to CT Atlantic Dr. Treder co-founded U3 Pharma AG, a German biotech company developing targeted cancer therapeutics, and held the position of Program Director where he was responsible for heading the company’s portfolio of innovative anti-HER3 therapeutic antibodies. Dr. Treder graduated with Honors from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and obtained a diploma in Biology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. He earned his PhD working in Prof. Axel Ullrich's group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried-Munich, Germany.  

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

4:30 pm | Panel Discussion: The Future Potential of NK Cells in Combination Therapies

12:00 pm | Therapeutic Strategies Based on Innate Immunity and Affimed’s ROCK® platform

Robin Parihar
Assistant Professor of Pediatric Hematology- Oncology
Baylor College of Medicine

I am a pediatric oncologist with an interest in caring for children with solid tumors. I have an active research lab interested in stimulating the immune system to fight solid tumors. My lab investigates the role of a specific type of immune cell called the natural killer (NK) cell in the control of cancer. My current research projects aim to enhance NK cell function in order to target the tumor microenvironment, essentially getting rid of the accessory cells that help a tumor resist standard therapies. I am currently working on introducing the enhanced NK cells as therapy for children with advanced cancers. In addition, we are using our established lab models to better understand how the tumor microenvironment suppresses the immune system, in order to develop new approaches to overcome this inhibition and improve immune-based therapies for pediatric cancers.

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

11:00 am | NK Cells and the Solid Tumor microenvironment: Lessons Learned and Translational Potential

Xiaokui Zhang
CSO
Celularity

Dr. Xiaokui Zhang has 15+ years of experience in leading discovery, research and development in the biopharmaceutical industry to advance research stage programs into early clinical development. She joined Celularity in August 2017 as EVP, Chief Scientific Offer to head Research & Development operations in immuno-oncology and functional regeneration. Her previous roles included Senior Director of Research at Celgene Cellular Therapeutics where she led the development of novel immunotherapy candidates derived from placental progenitor cells and initiated clinical trials. She holds a B.Sc. in Physiology from Nanjing University, Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology from the Rockefeller University with further post-doctoral training in the Functional Genomics Department of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.    

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

2:00 pm | An Allogeneic, Off-The-Shelf NK Cell Product Derived from Placental Hematopoietic

Robert Hariri
Chairman & CEO
Celularity

Dr. Bob Hariri is a surgeon, biomedical scientist and highly successful serial entrepreneur in two technology sectors: biomedicine and aerospace. The Chairman, Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of one of the world's largest human cellular therapeutics companies, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, a division of Celgene Corporation, Dr. Hariri has pioneered the use of stem cells to treat a range of life threatening diseases and has made transformative contributions to the field of tissue engineering. His activities and experience includes academic neurosurgeon at Weill Cornell Medical College, businessman, military surgeon, aviator and aerospace innovator. Dr. Hariri has over 150 issued and pending patents, has authored over 150 published chapters, articles and abstracts and is most recognized for his discovery of pluripotent stem cells from the placenta and as a member of the team which discovered the physiological activities of tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

4:30 pm | Panel Discussion: The Future Potential of NK Cells in Combination Therapies

Noah Merin
Assistant Professor
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

  • Medical School: University of California, Davis School of Medicine, 2008
  • Residency: Harbor-UCLA, 2012
  • Fellowship: University of Southern California, 2015
  • Clinical Instructor: University of Southern California, 2016
  • Assistant Professor, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 2016 -
 

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

2:30 pm | Pre-emptive Donor-Derived Natural Killer Infusion for Patients with High-risk Multiple Myeloma, Lymphoma, or CLL

Robert Igarashi
CSO
Cyto-Sen Therapeutics

Robert Igarashi, Ph.D. is the president and co-founder of CytoSen Therapeutics. Dr. Igarashi has a diverse background in life sciences and has played an instrumental role in the development of the particle based natural killer (NK) cell stimulating technology. He has brought his biochemical and physico-chemical expertise to combine with immunology for developing and refining the nanoparticle based method for NK cell stimulation that could be used for ex vivo expansion as well as in vivo stimulation of therapeutic NK cells.He has been crucial in understanding the biochemical aspects of the plasma membrane particles interacting with NK cells and how they can be further innovated to add novel therapeutic dimensions for adoptive NK cell therapy.

Workshop D

March 19, 2019

1:00 pm |

Logic and Rationale Behind the High Doses of High Potency NK Cells and their Therapeutic Application

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

3:00 pm | NK Cell Stimulation Using Membrane Bound IL-21

Emily Mace
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Columbia University

Emily Mace studies human natural killer cell development, particularly with quantitative image analysis and cell biological approaches. This includes the use of highly spatially and temporally resolved and super-resolution microscopy to understand interactions between NK cell precursors and the microenvironment. She also identifies novel requirements for human NK cell development through the identification and study of rare patients with NK cell deficiencies. This has included the characterization of NK cell functional and cell biological phenotypes associated with GATA2, IRF8 and Coronin 1A deficiencies. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, where she serves as the junior faculty representative to the American Association of Medical Colleges. She has published more than 60 papers and is an American Society for Hematology Scholar, as well as an Associate Member of the American Society for Cell Biology’s Women in Cell Biology Committee and a member of the Biophysical Society’s Committee for the Promotion of Women. Her work is funded by the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Workshop C

March 19, 2019

1:00 pm |

Addressing Contact Dependent Factors that Promote NK Cell Development

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

4:00 pm | Addressing Contact-Dependent Factors that Promote NK Cell Development

Rizwan Romee
Director of Haploidentical Donor Transplant Program
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

My long-term goals as a translational researcher are to translate novel aspects of immunology to improve treatments for patients with hematologic malignancies. I have extensive experience in concepts and techniques in the field of immunobiology, and specifically NK cell biology. We recently described human cytokine induced memory-like (CIML) NK cells induced by brief activation with cytokines (IL-12, IL-15 and IL-18). These memory-like NK cells have enhanced anti-tumor responses (direct cell cytotoxicity and antibody dependent cell cytotoxicity), proliferate and persist longer after adoptive transfer in animal models, making them attractive for cellular immunotherapy for advanced cancer patients. I led the first-in-human clinical trial of memory-like NK cells in patients with advanced AML and MDS. We demonstrated that the adoptive transfer of memory-like NK cells in these patients was safe and encouragingly was associated with very promising responses (>50% CR / CRi in relapsed / refractory AML patients). Currently I am leading efforts at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Harvard Medical School, to expand the use of memory-like NK cell based studies in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies and also to test them in combination with other novel agents to potentially further enhance their anti-tumor activity. Furthermore, we are working to use HLA haploidentical donor transplantation as a platform for NK cell immunotherapy for patients with high risk myeloid malignancies.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

11:30 am | NK Cell Memory to Target Advanced Malignancies

Bob Valamehr
CDO
Fate Therapeutics

Bob Valamehr is the Chief Development Officer at Fate Therapeutics, overseeing the company’s early development activities including “off-the-shelf” cell therapy products derived from the company’s induced pluripotent stem cell platform. Previously, Dr. Valamehr was the Vice President of Cancer Immunotherapy at Fate and prior to that played key scientific roles at Amgen, the Center for Cell Control (a NIH Nanomedicine Development Center) and the Broad Stem Cell Research Center developing novel methods to control pluripotency, to modulate stem cell fate including hematopoiesis and to better understand cellular signaling pathways associated with cancer. He has co-authored numerous studies and patents related to stem cell biology, oncology and materials science. Dr. Valamehr received his Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, his M.B.A. from Pepperdine University and his B.S. from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

2:00 pm | Translation of Pluripotent Cell-Derived Engineered NK Cells as a Cornerstone Approach for Off-the-Shelf Cancer Immunotherapy

Amir Horowitz
Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences
Ichan School of Medicine

Amir Horowitz, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences and a member of the Precision Immunology Institute and the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.   Central to his studies is how immunogenetic variation of HLA, KIR and CD94:NKG2A genes governs the education of human NK cells and regulates their ability to function within dynamic environments. A central goal of his lab’s research is to investigate the effects of genetic variation on the effector and immunoregulatory roles of NK cells in patients with cancer receiving immunotherapies. Throughout my training, he has developed expertise in immunology of infectious diseases and cancer, evolutionary and population immunogenetics, structural biology, and epidemiology. He has cultivated long-standing collaborations with leading scientists in the field of NK cell immunology and HLA genetics and currently have studies focused across settings of hematologic and solid tumor malignancies. His work has contributed to developing an understanding of adaptive NK cells and their roles in microbial infections and following vaccination and hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). He was the first person to demonstrate adaptive roles for human NK cells in vaccine settings as a strategy to potentiate T cell memory. He also pioneered the first studies of human NK cells by mass cytometry (CyTOF) and demonstrated an enormous breadth of phenotypic diversity and functions associated with specific HLA class I and KIR backgrounds. This research has led to the identification and characterization of numerous NK cell subset populations with unique activity and antiviral (and anti-tumor) potential. His laboratory uses tools such as CyTOF, tissue imaging mass cytometry, single-cell RNA sequencing, Olink proteomics, next generation sequencing and computational analytics. They study how HLA class I mediated education and inhibition of NK cells and tumor-derived mutations affecting HLA class I expression and antigen presentation determines sensitivity of NK cells and CD8 T cells to tumor cells, immunosuppressive elements produced within the tumor microenvironment and the capacity to potentiate anti-tumor CD8 T cell activity in response to immune checkpoint blockade therapy.  

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

12:00 pm | Panel Discussion: Identifying Strategies to Improve Efficacy in Solid Tumor Trials

11:30 am | Harnessing NK Cells to Improve T-cell Targeted Immunotherapies for Solid Tumor and Hematologic Malignancies

Mark Lowdell
CSO
ImmuneBio Inc

Professor Mark Lowdell PhD FRCPath FRSB is the Chief Scientific Officer of InmuneBio Inc., a biopharma company specialising in harnessing the therapeutic potential of the innate immune system.  He is also Professor of Cell & Tissue Therapy at University College London and Director of the Centre for Cell, Gene & Tissue at Royal Free Hospital London. He is the current Vice President (Europe & Middle East) of the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy and has over 20 years’ experience in adoptive immunotherapy of cancer; focussing on the role of natural killer (NK) cells in clearance of residual disease and initiation of acquired immunity.

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

12:00 pm | Panel Discussion: Identifying Strategies to Improve Efficacy in Solid Tumor Trials

9:30 am | Investigating the Consequences of Co-Incubation of Freshly Isolated, Resting NK Cells with K562, CTV-1, Daudi and RPMI-8226 Tumor Cell Lines on the Phenotype, Cytokine Profile and Transcriptome of the NK Cells

Lawrence Lamb
Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board
Incysus Therapeutics Inc.

Dr. Lawrence Lamb is a Clinical Laboratory Immunologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. specializing in transplantation immunology. Dr. Lamb directs the UAB Cell Therapy Laboratory in the Section of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy. While a Transplantation Medicine postdoctoral fellow at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Lamb was the first to describe homeostatic reconstitution of gdT cells in patients who receive abT cell depleted bone marrow grafts as well as an association between gdT cell recovery and disease-free survival in allogeneic bone marrow. He currently directs research programs for evaluation and translation of gdT cell-based therapies for Glioblastoma Multiforme and Leukemia has received funding by the NINDS, NCI, Elsa Pardee Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Brendan Franco Foundation, and the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation. He also held the National Brain Tumor Society's Samuel Gerson Leadership Chair for Glioblastoma Research for 2008-2010. Dr. Lamb serves on several national and international committees related to cell and gene therapy and currently chairs the Scientific Advisory Board for Incysus Therapeutics, Inc.  

Workshop B

March 19, 2019

9:00 am |

Unique Advantages of γδT Cells for Adoptive Immunotherapy

Evren Alici
Assistant Professor of Hematology
Karolinska Institutet

Prof. Evren Alici is a distinguished researcher both at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA. His research focus is in the field of multiple myeloma and sarcoma. He has published many research and review articles about multiple myeloma and the use of NK cells against the cancer. He is principal investigator in many ongoing clinical phase I and II trials where autologous NK cells are used to combat the disease. Furthermore, he is an expert in retro- and lentiviral production for clinical use. Prof. Alici has had five doctoral students and has been mentor for 6 postdoctoral fellows, three of which have successfully moved on to senior positions. He has received several fellowships and awards, has accepted several commissions of trust as advisor for companies that focus on cell therapies and he is the inventor of four granted patents.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

3:00 pm | Utilizing Ex Vivo Expanded Natural Killer Cells for Both Allogeneic and Autologous Uses

Lotte Wieten
Department Head of Transplantation Immunology
Maastricht University

I am an immunologist with a specific interest in Transplantation- and tumor immunology and a strong background in HLA/KIR immunogenetics. I am currently leading the diagnostic- and research lab for Transplantation Immunology where we develop and exploit innovative diagnostics for stem cell- and solid organ transplantation. In one of our research themes, we investigate how Natural Killer cells are influenced by the tumor microenvironment and we develop combinational strategies to enhance clinical efficacy in haematological and solid tumors. In addition, we perform studies to better understand the functional relevance of classical and non-classical HLA molecules for alloreactive NK cells which contributes to improved selection of NK cell donors. Ultimately, we aim to develop NK cell based immunotherapy with a high clinical efficacy and, preferably, with low toxicity.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

2:30 pm | Refinement of NK Cell Immunotherapy: Strategies to Unleash the Killer in a Suppressive Tumor Microenvironment

Patrick Soon-Shiong
Founder & CEO
NantWorks

Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., a physician, surgeon, scientist, inventor, technologist and philanthropist, has devoted his career to understanding the fundamental biology driving life threatening diseases and translating these insights into medical innovations with global impact. Dr. Soon-Shiong has published more than 100 scientific papers and has been granted more than 230 patents worldwide for groundbreaking advancements across technology and medicine. He currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NantWorks, LLC. A holding company devoted to the transformation of healthcare and utilizing artificial intelligence to win the war against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease – two of the most serious diseases affecting the aging population. As a surgeon, Dr. Soon-Shiong performed the world’s first encapsulated human islet transplant, the first engineered islet cell transplant and the first pig-to-man islet cell transplant in patients with diabetes. Dr. Soon-Shiong has also pioneered novel therapies for both diabetes and cancer, including the revolutionary drug Abraxane, which has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, lung cancer and advanced pancreatic cancer in the U.S. and E.U. From 1996 to 2010, Dr. Soon-Shiong served as Founder, Chairman and CEO of two global pharmaceutical companies, American Pharmaceutical Partners and Abraxis BioScience. Following the sale of these companies, Dr. Soon-Shiong established NantWorks, LLC, an ecosystem of companies with deep understandings across complex industries, from science to data, communication and mobility. Dr. Soon-Shiong is also Chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation and of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, a nonprofit medical research organization. In April 2018, Dr. Soon-Shiong purchased the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times en Espanol (previously Hoy Los Angeles) and publications under the California News Group. Dr. Soon-Shiong previously owned 26 percent share of the Los Angeles Times. Born and raised during apartheid in South Africa, Dr. Soon-Shiong resides in Los Angeles and is a citizen of the United States.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

9:30 am | The Innate Killing Ability of Natural Killer Cells

James Trager
Senior Vice President of Research and Development
Nkarta Therapeutics

James Trager joined Nkarta Therapeutics, as Senior Vice President of R&D in 2016 and leads all discovery and development efforts. Nkarta is a South San Francisco based startup focused on the use of Natural Killer cells in the treatment of cancer. James is deeply versed in the development and application of cellular therapies for cancer, with broad exposure from discovery to development, quality control, manufacturing, clinical application and regulatory issues surrounding these complex therapies. He previously served as Vice President of Research and Development at Dendreon, where he was responsible for product development, clinical immunology, and analytical development, supporting the late stage development of sipuleucel-T through clinical study, approval, and commercialization. Prior to Dendreon, James was a Senior Scientist at Geron; he was part of the team that cloned human telomerase, and later established a Quality Control function for the manufacture and clinical development of a telomerase inhibitor. James is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe New Mexico; and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic. He received his doctorate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, where he performed mechanistic studies on the src oncogene.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

10:00 am | Engineering Models for Potency and Persistence

Stacey Cranert
Research Scientist
Poseida Therapeutics

Dr. Stacey Cranert is currently a scientist in Immuno-Oncology at Poseida Therapeutics and specializes in NK cell therapies. She received her Ph.D in Cancer and Cell Biology from the University of Cincinnati. She completed post-doctoral training in immunology in the lab of Dr. Stephen Waggoner at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she received a grant from CancerFree Kids as well as the Arnold W. Strauss post-doctoral fellowship. She was also a Public Policy Fellow for the American Association for Immunologists in 2016. Her work focused on improving NK cell-based cell therapies via several mechanisms including by modification of SLAM receptor signaling for targeting various hematological cancers as well as improving NK cell trafficking for solid tumors by modulation chemokine signaling.  

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

4:30 pm | Panel Discussion: The Future Potential of NK Cells in Combination Therapies

Alicja Copik
Research Assistant Professor
Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Alicja Copik is a biochemist specializing in innate immunity with emphasis on NK cell biology in the context of immunotherapy for treatment of cancer. Her laboratory has developed a clinically relevant protocol for NK cell expansion that is simple, safe, economical and effective, which can be applied in vitro or in vivo. This novel method is based on the use of PM21-particles derived from plasma membranes of cells engineered to stimulate NK cell expansion. This technology has recently been licensed by CytoSen Therapeutics and is now entering clinical development for treatment of leukemia. Dr. Copik has diverse expertise from chemical engineering, medicinal organic chemistry, enzymology, biomolecular interactions, molecular and cell biology  and she worked in academia, hospital and industrial settings.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

12:30 pm | Using PM21-NK cells as an Anti-Cancer Therapeutic

Anahid Jewett
Professor & Director of Tumor Immunology Laboratory
UCLA School of Dentistry and Medicine

Dr. Jewett is Professor and Director of tumor immunology laboratory in the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine, and Weintraub Center for reconstructive biotechnology at the UCLA School of Medicine and Dentistry. She has membership in Johnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and is a member of UCLA Tumor Immunology subgroup. She is well-known nationally and internationally for her contribution to the field of NK biology, tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. She has received a large number of honors and awards and holds memberships in many professional organizations and societies. She has chaired a number of important senate and non-senate committees at UCLA and University of California Regents, and has been instrumental in shaping the graduate studies for the health professionals at UCLA. She chairs and teaches several graduate level courses, and her laboratory is sought out by many foreign and domestic scholars who spend several years to receive training in NK studies. She serves on the editorial board of many prestigious journals, and has been a reviewer on the board of National Institute of Health study sections. She holds several patents, and has given more than 200 invited lectures and presentations nationally and internationally and has published more than 100 high impact journal articles, reviews, commentaries and book chapters in the field of cancer. She has research collaborations with investigators from China, Slovenia, Mexico, Poland, Germany, Thailand, Japan, Portugal, South Korea and Sweden. She has organized a number of conferences on cancer immunity nationally and internationally. She has trained more than 150 graduate students and health professionals in her laboratory, many of whom are leaders in their respective institutions. She has served on review panels for grants from many countries including England, France, the Netherlands, Qatar, Poland and Israel to name a few. She has received several NIH grant funding as well as from other sources for her studies. One of Dr. Jewett’s major contributions to science and NK cell biology was the identification, characterization and the establishment of the concept of split anergy in NK cells. Equally important was Dr. Jewett’s discovery demonstrating that NK cells were important for the elimination, selection and differentiation of cancer stem cells as well as healthy stem cells. Most recently she has identified, characterized, and patented a novel technology to expand large numbers of super-charged NK cells which are in use in clinical trials of cancer patients. In addition, she has developed a formulation with probiotic bacteria to prevent and treat cancer patients in combination with super-charged NK cells.

Workshop A

March 19, 2019

9:00 am |

Examining the Tumor Microenvironment

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

5:30 pm |
Chair’s Closing Remarks

9:00 am | Chair’s Opening Remarks

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

4:30 pm |
Chair’s Closing Remarks

12:00 pm | Panel Discussion: Identifying Strategies to Improve Efficacy in Solid Tumor Trials

10:00 am | Distinguishing Undifferentiated Tumors from Differentiated Tumors

9:00 am |
Chair’s Opening Remarks